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Touhou Nekokayou #62: It's Really Epic

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Touhou Nekokayou: Scarlet Weather Archive in Japanese Red #62

Touhou Nekokayou: Scarlet Weather Archive in Japanese Red #62a

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Characters: Yukari Yakumo, Marisa Kirisame, Reimu Hakurei, Alice Margatroid, Yuka Kazami

I've noticed that in a lot of "epic" Touhou fan fiction, regardless of how well-written a given story actually is, they tend to kill off Yukari and/or some other major character(s), as if to Show They Mean Business. In Retribution in Gensokyo, Yuka and Yukari get killed (Yuka gets better); Remixed Cherry Blossom kills the whole playable cast of PCB (they get better); Embodiment of Dreams kills off Yukari (it is telegraphed that she is going to get better once the good guys win);1 The Shrine of Gensokyo kills Yukari and Reimu (Reimu gets better by a sort of deus ex machina, and come to think of it she sort of seems to "die" for the hell of it as well). But anyway, that idea is the source material for today's comic. I suppose I'll have to make a more serious deconstruction of it outside the comic.2

Also, I've been wanting for a while to have someone say "Kazamin!" The "no one could survive that much dust" line is borrowed from DBZ-spoof "Buttlord GT" (and it's my stock response to a Smoke Shield (Warning, link leads to TVTropes. Muffin will not be held responsible for hours of time lost as a result of following it.But see also this disclaimer)). Marisa's "NO WAY! THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE!" is pretty much one of the stock Walfas in-jokes; I'm using it pretty much as it was in its original appearance.

I figure Yuka's Master Spark would look different from Marisa's. This is about the third time I've had to recreate that effect, by the way. (Usual "it'd be nice if you credit me if you use that" applies to these quick special effects I made in Photoshop.)

Transcript

  1. (Yukari and Marisa (in her UFO outfit) are flying above an extremely dense field of flowers, in which Reimu and Alice are apparently drowning.)
    Yukari: Gensokyo is being choked by flowers, which have already captured Reimu and Alice!
    Marisa: This can only be the work of one youkai ...
  2. (Closeup of Marisa with a silly :x face against a sketchy pink background.)
    Marisa: ... Kazamin!
    Yukari: (off-panel) You downloaded a Lucky Star torrent, didn't you?
    Marisa: Shh.
  3. (Marisa and Yukari confront Yuka at the End of Gensokyo.)
    Marisa: Okay, Yuka, time to put a stop to this, ze!
    Yuka: Oh, hi there, kids! How're you two doing, huh?
    Yukari: Yuka ... I'm as open to fooling around as anyone else, but this time you've probably gone sort of too far!
  4. (Yuka's parasol suddenly appears in her hands.)
    Yuka: What, my biggest gig since PC-98, and you want me to just give up? Bring it on!
    Marisa: Just what I wanted to hear! Let's rock!
    Yukari: It's time for you to find out just why I'm called the Sage of Youkai!
  5. (They fly upward; Yukari is sticking out of a gap.)
    Yuka: By the way, before we begin, I should warn you ...
    Yukari: Yeah? About what?
  6. (Closeup of Yuka against a sketchy dark background as she powers up.)
    Yuka: MY NEWFOUND SOURCE OF POWER!
  7. (Closeup of Marisa against a sketchy pink background.)
    Marisa: NO WAY! THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE!
  8. (Yuka's parasol plummets.)
    Yuka: Yes! And now I shall destroy you both with my FLOWER POWER!
    Marisa: (brandishing her mini-hakkero) Not if I have anything to say about it!
    Yukari: (aside) I should probably just hide in a gap, then.
  9. (Marisa launches four lasers while Yukari fires kunais out of a gap.)
    Marisa: NON-DIRECTIONAL LASER!!
  10. (Yuka fires a grey master spark.)
    Yuka: MASTER SPARK!!
  11. (Marisa fires a bigger blast at her; there is a cloud of smoke.)
    Marisa: FINAL SPARK!!
    SFX: THOOOOOM
  12. (Marisa and Yukari float in front of the cloud of smoke.)
    Marisa: Did I get her?
    Yukari: Surely she must be finished! No one could survive that much dust!
  13. (The smoke clears, revealing two Yukas.)
    Yuka A: NOT
    Yuka B: QUITE!
    Yukari: D'oh.
  14. (Closeup of Marisa against a sketchy pink background.)
    Marisa: NO WAY! THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE!
  15. (Both Yukas fire grey master sparks.)
    Yuka A: DOUBLE
    Yuka B: SPARK!
    Yukari: And do you, like, keep changing your outfit or something?
  16. (Marisa fires a very narrow beam between the Yukas.)
    Marisa: EASY HARVEST MASTER SPARK!!
  17. (Yuka A releases sunflower danmaku while Yuka B disappears in a puff of smoke.)
    Yuka: SUNFLOWER'D.
    SFX: POOF
  18. (Closeup of Marisa against a sketchy pink background.)
    Marisa: NO WAY! THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE!
  19. (A sunflower stabs Marisa in the chest, shocking Yukari.)
    Marisa: I mean BLEARGH!
  20. (Marisa explodes.)
    SFX: KRAKOW
  21. (Yukari confronts Yuka as drops of blood fall from where Marisa was.)
    Yukari: YOU KILLED MARISA!?
    Yuka: W-what!? I wasn't expecting her to just sit there and ...
  22. Yukari: YOU IDIOT! Do you have any idea what's going to happen to the space-time continuum now!?
    Yuka: Huh? ... Oh! You mean ... because she's already appeared in ...
  23. (Metal Gear Solid 3's game over screen.)
    Text: TIME PARADOX
    Text: Continue/Exit

1That particular fic isn't quite as good at the rest, although the author has been getting better.

2Well, um, actually, I already have begun it. You just haven't seen it yet, as of this writing ...

All Touhou characters are © Team Shanghai Alice and/or ZUN; create.swf is ⑨ KirbyM with help from Thefre. "Sakura petals" brush in main/4koma logo was made by Kisara Girl. "Falling leaves" brush in 60-Years logo came with Photoshop.

20 Comments (auto-closed) (rss feed)

Archeia

Marisa noooooo
also that was pretty epic and hilarious tbh.
Altho it's weird that main characters get killed hmm

Dan-heron

what can I say, you already know how much I love when you take standard tropes, and bend them over and make them like it.

Marisa freaking out and switching outfits I found it funnier than it should have been.

And Yukari getting upset more over the problems a paradox will cause, than over Marisa's death, is just as funny. Thanks for another good strip!

Anonymous

So who failed the mission and what was the mission in the first place?

Tewi Inonymous

....
A) What could possibly kill off yukari? and even if it did, Her "best friend" is princess of the nether world and she can control boundaries. She certainly wouldn't stay dead.
B) No one dies in touhou, that's the point of danmaku is it not?
C) More suika is required.

KirbyM

Alice and Reimu in the first panel was more entertaining to me than it should have been.

Anonymous

I've gotten fond of stories that kill off main characters completely non-dramatically. They already visit several afterlives freely and are friends with the owners, including some dead people. Someone dying would only be a slight inconvenience socially.

Dizzy H. Muffin

@Anonymous: There wasn't a mission, it was just a time paradox.

@-Anonymous-: A. Obviously, you aren't thinking EPIC enough!! And why would Yuyuko want to hurry her out of Hakugyokurou? She'd be all "Yay, more time to spend with Yukari!" wouldn't she? (Actually, the explanations are, respectively: Yukari was lazy and wanted to rest, Yuyuko did help them, the Netherworld's under new management and she didn't even end up in Hakugyokurou, and Reimu used a "SEALING SPHERE OF ANNIHILATION!!" at her.)

B. Well, Yuka's an overconfident jerkface, so I figure she'd be the type to try something like that. And you forgot That One Crow from SSiB.

C. Kay.

Gamerofthegame

Do gotta love us some Yuka... Now all we need is moar Nitori in dis comikz.

Shame Marisa ran out of lives, apparently.

Dizzy H. Muffin

This story is too epic to take game-elements literally!

Yuta Kihova

Pretty Funny, I had never saw someone making Marisa and Yukari teaming. I hope to see a continuation of this paradox, I want to see Alice face when she find out that Marisa is dead.

TalKaline

Hm.

I'm pretty sure there's a correlation-causation thing going on. If you're going to kill off a Touhou character obviously the story surrounding it's going to have to be big too. After all, look at all the canonical adventures that have occurred without any fatalities.

Furthermore, if you want to have a "credible threat of partial or complete failure", many people are going to have to feel they need to kill a character off. It's not always the best way of doing things, but it changes the major question readers have in their minds from "how will they get out of this" to just "will they get out of this". Of course, character death brings a whole lot of other baggage along with it, most of which fanfic writers are unwilling or unable to deal with.

Finally, it's not like canonical Touhou games are entirely without tension. I'm pretty sure the translated manual I have with PCB says that Sakuya went out to stab things because if the winter continued for a few more days, her supplies at the SDM would run out, and she'd freeze/starve to death, not being able to restock in winter as Gensokyo doesn't have the delicious modern conveniences that we do.

Just being contrariantastic, da ze.

Dizzy H. Muffin

Hm, now that you mention it:

1. My original intent, which kind of got lost along the way, was for Yukari to be the one killed, on the basis that she's the most common "offender," and I was then going to lambast the overuse of her in particular; quite often, no one else gets killed (or at least when they do, they seem to "get better" more quickly/easily), so that it's gotten to the point where she suffers from The Worf Effect (warning, TVTropes, etc), with a side of "Oh my gawd! You killed Yukari! You bastard!" Remixed Cherry Blossom is kind of a bad example in that case, since Yukari herself is never even directly threatened.

2. The mere fact that characters can "get better" turns the whole dynamic upside-down. If death is nothing more than a slap on the wrist (warning, TVTropes etc), why worry when it happens?

Besides, you don't need to actually kill off characters in order to get the suspenseful effect you're describing. You can achieve the same effect by writing really well. In The Reenterpretation of Scarlet Devil, nobody dies after chapter 3, and it gets the "Will they get out of this?" effect just fine (to the extent that this is possible in a first-person narrative). And it isn't even as well-written as Remixed Cherry Blossom (by the same author). By contrast, Embodiment of Dreams doesn't really have the effect at all, because apart from anything else, Yukari is still mostly functional in the Netherworld, and only remains in any kind of negative situation because the story then reveals that her weakness, which was never foreshadowed or telegraphed beforehand, is getting surprised.

Yuta Kihova

Now that I remember the Retelling of Scarlet Devil, what happened to Marisa's infinite lives cheat?

Morgan

"I had never saw someone making Marisa and Yukari teaming."

It's kind of funny to me, because that's actually a team I *wish* I could use in Imperishable Night...

Of course, that has absolutely no basis in characterization, they're just characters I'm better with than others. And the best way not to get beaten up by Marisa is to be her.

Dizzy H. Muffin

Now there's an idea: mix-and-match the IN teams! Of course, then ZUN would need to make 16 storymodes ... or maybe just have most of them be "no storymode" like when you play Stage 4 in Practice with Marisa as Magic or Ghost teams, or with Reimu as the Border or Scarlet teams.

Speaking of which, I still think it would be awesome if Stage 4 ended with a free-for-all between all four teams. :3

Asator

I have a theory as to what happened to Marisa's infinite lives cheat.
Simply put, every time I've tried to use one on Subterranean Animism, it's stopped working as soon as I got a star fragment. It seems logical to assume that this happens after SA, but before UFO (which I haven't tried cheating on since I can get through the demo just fine so I wouldn't know), so it would have that same problem at this time.

Of course, given the story I should probably be following the Gurren Lagann mantra of throwing logic away and going beyond the impossible, and just sit back and enjoy the epic, so my argument is rather moot anyway.

As for the idea of IN stage 4 ending in a free for all, oh god that would be awesome. I hope ZUN does that if he makes another game in that style.

Dizzy H. Muffin

I dunno what happened to your haxcheats, the ones I made for SA and UFO worked just fine ... :o

And yes. I haven't finished making the timeline I'm going to make public, but all comics and stories are between SA and UFO, unless otherwise specified (i.e. Perfect Square and the ones with Kogasa would have to be set after UFO, as would the Fate of Sixty Years line ... and Retelling of Scarlet Devil would also have to be set before UFO).

Morgan

I kind of assumed that it'd just give you one of the four existing storylines based on one member of the team... but now that I'm considering it, a Reimu and Remila storyline would probably be interesting. (A lot of the others, I'm not familiar enough with to guess. ^_^; )

Of course, when it comes to me imagining odd teamups, nothing beats Cirno and Marisa!

(I never could find a infinte lives cheat that worked in IN... had to engage in some real shenanigans to see the good ending. ^_^;;;)

Beta-Maxis

Yukari is a tension-killer for sure. The only way to really damage things is to take on (and out) her shikigami and screw with Reimu while Yukari's sleeping, and even then you have to power through Suika and the Three Mischievous Fairies to get to her and maybe Marisa drops by like she does semi-frequently. In my (in-the-works) Walfas story my OC has to do a LOT of planning and finangling (and luck) to pretend to be a threat to Gensokyo's existence.